BOZICH | Monday Muse: Why the Lamar Jackson Heisman snub?
Is Lamar Jackson being unfairly snubbed in the Heisman Trophy conversation? Are there enough high-octane candidates to fill the college football job openings? Do you worry about fights in football stadiums?
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Sometimes the Monday Muse requires Monday Morning Quarterbacking. Sometimes a hat tip will suffice. There is always room for a question, a rant or new weekly feature.
Today I will attempt to check all the above boxes -- with a warning to be careful the next time you walk out of a visiting football stadium.
Read on. It's time to Muse.
1. Loveless Lamar
After quarterback Lamar Jackson became the first player to pass for 3,000 yards and rush for 1,000 yards in consecutive seasons, I received several messages from Louisville fans wondering why the national media folks had fallen out of love with Jackson.
I thought they were being too sensitive.
Everybody who follows the game is aware of Jackson's thunderous skills. Jackson leads the nation in total offense by nearly 400 yards over Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield, the guy that everybody is rushing to hand the 2017 Heisman Trophy.
Jackson was the only player to average more than 400 yards per game last season -- and he's on track to be the only player to average more than 400 yards this season. He has accounted for 36 touchdowns -- 15 rushing, 21 passing -- only five fewer than Mayfield.
But if you check the Heisman Watch lists from Sports Illustrated, ESPN and Yahoo! Sports, Jackson is not listed as a top five candidate.
I'm not certain if that is punishment for A) his 6 interceptions; B) Louisville's four defeats or C) expectations set by Jackson winning the award last season.
But if there are five better offensive players in college football than Lamar Jackson, I need to file a blank Heisman ballot.
2. Best Coaches Available?
Three football jobs are open in the Southeastern Conference -- Ole Miss, Florida and Tennessee. Most wise guys expect Arkansas and Texas A&M to join the list.
That's a turnover rate of better than 35 percent.
I planned to ask you to rank the available jobs (a list that will likely include Nebraska, Arizona State and UCLA.)
But there's a more challenging question:
Are there enough proven high-octane candidates to fill these spots because Florida, Tennessee, A&M and Nebraska absolutely aspire to win national titles?
Pete Thamel of Yahoo! Sports says Florida is focusing on Scott Frost of UCF, Dan Mullen of Mississippi State and Chip Kelly, formerly of Oregon.
Bruce Feldman of Sports Illustrated posted a longer list of candidates for Tennessee, led by the always sexy idea of ESPN NFL analyst Jon Gruden, who has been spotted looking at property in South Bend, Columbus and Lake Forest in recent years.
Will Louisville coach Bobby Petrino make it into the discussion stage?
He already has. Petrino was one of 15 names mentioned by the Knoxville News. His name is several notches below (you guessed it) Gruden, Kelly, Mullen and Frost.
It's that time of year.
3. Freshman Fun
I don't expect Louisville guard Darius Perry to hit all three of his shots from distance as well as all eight free throws again -- at least not until next week. Ditto for Jordan Nwora, the Cards' other freshman who was also perfect from distance on three attempts Sunday against George Mason.
But Steve Rummage of 939TheVille made a provocative point on Twitter:
Darius Perry most likely would have been pulled in years past after that bounce pass earlier. Instead he plays and sparks a huge run.— Steven Rummage (@StevenRummage) November 12, 2017
Was David Padgett's willingness to trust Perry and Nwora and let them play through mistakes the most notable difference between Padgett and Rick Pitino after the massive sample size of one game?
With some guys (especially V.J. King last season), Pitino developed the reputation of a coach with a quick hook. Make a defensive breakdown. Forget to block out. Take a contested jumper.
Take a seat.
Padgett appeared to let both freshmen play through misplays.
It's an approach worth watching as this season unfolds.
4. More Freshman Fun
Perry and Nwora were not the only freshmen to frolic on opening weekend. After two games, Kentucky's top six scorers are freshmen, led by Hamidou Diallo, one of three first-year guys giving John Calipari at least 11 points per game
Justin Smith delivered a double-double for Indiana Sunday night against Howard while Al Durham made three shots from distance, equaling Smith with 16 points.
Nationally, Tremont Waters, a point guard recruited by UK and IU, scored 27 for Louisiana State. Marvin Bagley, the next great thing at Duke, scored 49 in the Blue Devils' first two games. Deandre Ayton, another guy recruited by Calipari, had a pair of 19-point performances for Arizona.
There's no time to fear trusting freshmen.
5. Asia Ascends
Several more notes on Asia Durr's thunderous 47-point performance for the University of Louisville women's basketball team Sunday against Ohio State.
It was the most points scored in a women's Division I game since Kelsey Plum of Washington dropped 58 on Utah last Feb. 25.
Only three women scored more than 47 points in a game last season.
It was the highest-scoring game by any men's or women’s player on opening weekend. The men's game was topped by Geno Crandall of North Dakota.
He had 41.
6. Listen to Fran
Fran Fraschilla is a thinker more than a screamer. He is an analyst more than a provocateur. He's coached the game at a high level -- and he knows the Big 12, Big 10, SEC and ACC as well as anybody at ESPN.
Like many who love the game, Fraschilla has been concerned by the developments of the last two months. He's talked to coaches, administrators, media folks and players. He constructed a plan to try to improve the game.
Fraschilla is not merely tweeting out hashtags and words in ALL CAPS. He's moved beyond the laziest take there is -- bashing the NCAA for everything.
Fraschilla shared his thoughts on how to make the game better. Read it. It's worth your time.
7. Playoff Expansion? Not So Fast
When the representatives of the College Football Playoff committee call me later today for my top four playoff selections, I have my list:
Two teams from the ACC. Nobody from the Big 10 or Pac-12. A snub for Georgia. Listen to the howls.
And listen to the calls that this season is a perfect reminder of why college football should expand the field to eight teams as quickly as possible.
Dan Wolken of USA Today looked downfield and made a pre-snap read that to counter that move.
This year is yet again a reminder that 8-team playoff would not be as fun as you think. ACC and SEC title games would be meaningless, OSU sleepwalks into field, USC also gets in— Dan Wolken (@DanWolken) November 13, 2017
Hard to argue -- but I'm certain fans of Georgia, Ohio State, Penn State, Wisconsin, Notre Dame, Wisconsin, Washington, USC and TCU will scream for eight or 16.
8. Another Saturday, Another Brawl
I've decided to make this a weekly feature -- football fans brawling in the stands.
Somebody posts video every weekend. I'll find the best one and share it here. It started with Florida State and Alabama. A Carolina fan clocked an Atlanta Falcons fan last week. A Miami fan slapped a policeman. Her reward? A punch to the face.
Last weekend Notre Dame collapsed at Miami, losing something like 41-8 (I changed to the Alabama-Mississippi State game after it was 20-0). Not everybody bailed on the game. Two Notre Dame fans stayed into the fourth quarter. As they were exiting they were serenaded by a larger group of Miami fans.
I don't think they were asking, "Whatever happened to Joe Montana?"
What do you think? Click this link and watch. You'll be amazed.
9. How much would you pay for Tom Brady’s autograph?
Forbes magazine reported that Tom Brady was the 15th highest paid athlete in America in 2016, earning more than $44 million. They say that's merely tip money for Brady's wife, Gisele Bundchen.
According to this story from TMZ.com, Brady needs more. He is reportedly asking for an additional $49 at autograph sessions any time he scribbles his name on a helmet, picture, jersey or piece of paper.
Who wants to help me pass the hat?
10. Poll Results
Who will be Louisville's leading scorer this season?
Deng Adel 68.6 percent
V. J. King 14.9 percent
Quentin Snider 8.3 percent
Other 8.3 percent
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